Acupuncture Eases Depression in Pregnancy

| October 1, 2012 | 0 Comments | 18 views

Feb. 22, 2010 -- Acupuncture may be an effective way to reduce depressionduring pregnancy, a new study shows.

Many pregnant women who have symptoms of depression worry that takingantidepressants might harm their unborn babies -- so they stop taking theirmedications, say researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Acupuncture might be a useful alternative, they say, because a study ofpregnant women shows that the procedure works in reducing depressive symptomsbetter than other non-pharmacological techniques.

The study included 150 pregnant women diagnosed with major depressivedisorder. Some received depression-specific acupuncture treatments, others hadneedles inserted in acupuncture points not known to relieve depression, and athird group received massage therapy.

All of the women received therapy for eight weeks and were interviewed atthe four- and eight-week marks by someone who did not know which treatment theywere getting.

The researchers say 63% of the women who received depression-specificacupuncture reported a significant reduction in symptoms, compared to 44% ofwomen in the other two groups combined. Remission rates were notsignificantly lower in the depression-specific acupuncture group compared tothe other two groups.

"I hope that people will respect the rigorous methodology used in thisblinded, randomized, controlled trial and accept the result," study researcherDeirdre Lyell, MD, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at StanfordUniversity School of Medicine, says in a news release.

Given that so many depressed women are reluctant to take antidepressantsduring pregnancy, "it's important to find an alternative," study researcherRachel Manber, PhD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences atStanford, says in the news release.

Lyell says treatment of depression during pregnancy "is critically importantso that a woman can maintain her sense of well-being and take good care ofherself, her fetus, and someday, her child."

The researchers say up to 14% of pregnant women may suffer fromdepression.

The study is published in the March issue of Obstetrics &Gynecology.

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